New approach might strike at the core of Alzheimer’s disease | Science News



Support nonprofit journalism

Subscribe now


New approach might strike at the core of Alzheimer’s disease

Compound could slow amyloid beta production

9:56am, April 25, 2008

By finding a way to stick an enzyme-inhibiting molecule to the membrane of a cell, scientists may have devised the framework for an Alzheimer’s drug.

Researchers discovered the enzyme beta-secretase in 1999. Identifying it opened up a new line of attack against Alzheimer’s because beta-secretase makes a peptide implicated in the disease. Just as detectives sometimes put the squeeze on small-time crooks in hopes of weakening a crime ring, researchers reasoned that inhibiting beta-secretase could neutralize the real Alzheimer’s suspect — the peptide known as amyloid beta.

But it hasn’t been easy. While scientists have made many beta-secretase inhibitors, the free-floating compounds haven’t knocked down amyloid beta production consistently.

A research team in Germany has now synthesized a compound that anchors a beta-secretase inhibitor to the membrane of a cell using a sterol molecule. With nowhere to roam,

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content